Barr: Release of inspector general’s FISA abuse report ‘imminent’

November 14, 2019

It seems as though the American people have been waiting forever for the Justice Department inspector general’s report on alleged abuse by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and FBI of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants in 2016.

But based on recent remarks from Attorney General Bill Barr, the release of the long-awaited results of Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz’s investigation into surveillance of the Trump campaign is “imminent,” the Daily Caller reported.

Barr: Report release “imminent”

Numerous media outlets have reported in recent days that the IG has been allowing individuals named in the report to review relevant portions and offer comments, which is typically a sign that a report is complete and on the verge of public release.

The Daily Caller noted that Horowitz had informed lawmakers in June that his investigation — which was said to have begun in March of 2018 — had reviewed more than 1 million documents and interviewed more than 100 different witnesses.

The final review and declassification process reportedly began in mid-September, and Horowitz notified lawmakers in late October that that process was nearly complete and his “lengthy” report would soon be released with minimal redactions.

Barr confirmed as much on Wednesday.

“It’s been reported and it’s my understanding that it is imminent,” Barr said while speaking with reporters at an event Wednesday in Memphis, Tennessee, according to Politico. “A number of people who were mentioned in the report are having an opportunity right now to comment on how they were quoted in the report, and after that process is over — which is very short — the report will be issued. That’s what the inspector general himself suggests.”

Politico noted that neither Barr nor a spokesperson for him elaborated on what he had said, and Horowitz’s office declined a request for comment.

Coming to a close

According to the Daily Caller, the report — which is expected by some to be very damning for certain individuals from the DOJ and FBI — is focused on allegations that the DOJ and FBI violated important guidelines and regulations in 2016 when obtaining a FISA warrant, and subsequently renewing that warrant three more times, to spy on Trump campaign aide Carter Page, as well as other campaign associates.

One of the primary questions has to do with the extent to which the FBI relied upon — and failed to properly disclose — the now-debunked anti-Trump “Steele dossier” for the warrant. That dossier — full of wild, conspiratorial, and unsubstantiated claims about Trump —  was compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele on behalf of political opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which was in turn hired by a law firm representing then-candidate Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee in 2016.

Meanwhile, Politico noted that the “imminent release” of the report from Horowitz is occurring while a connected criminal investigation into that and other related matters remains ongoing by U.S. Attorney John Durham, who, according to The Washington Post, was tasked by Barr to investigate whether any of the DOJ and FBI officials involved in the 2016 probe into the Trump campaign violated any laws in what was a transparently partisan effort to spy on and smear Americans.

The country has been waiting a long time for the release of Horowitz’s FISA report and has been told for months that it would be coming soon. Finally, and not a moment too soon, it appears those predictions may be correct.

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Ben Marquis

Ben Marquis is a staff writer for Conservative Institute.